Off-road truck shows its Raptor grille for the first time
UPDATE: Eagle-eyed reader Matthew Kelly pointed out that the steering wheel is on the left side, ruling out the possibility that this is simply an Australian-market test mule and adding further fuel to the chances of a North American-market Ranger Raptor. The camouflaged Ranger Raptors we’ve seen previously have all been right-hand-drive.
The 2019 Ford Ranger just debuted in U.S.-spec trim at the Detroit auto show, and though Ford wouldn’t admit an off-road-focused Raptor variant was in the works for North America, it’s clearly testing one in the U.S. right now.
These spy shots were taken by readers Mike Leonard and Amanda Boyd, who saw the truck on a flatbed heading west on I-44 between Tulsa and Oklahoma City. The camouflage made the pickup stand out, but the flared fenders and all-terrain tires made the sighting even more unusual. What gives this away as a Raptor variant, though, is the unique grille featuring the “Ford” logo in big block letters—just like the grille on the F-150 Raptor. We can see there was camo covering the grille originally, but luckily for us the wind blew it off.
There’s a chance this could be the Australia-bound Ranger Raptor that’s debuting in Thailand on February 7. The wheels appear to match the ones we’ve seen in videos, as do the beefier fenders. But why is Ford testing it in the U.S.? We hope it’s because the Blue Oval is readying a Ranger Raptor for the North American market as well. We’ve heard the Australian market will get the Ranger Raptor with a tuned 3.2-liter turbodiesel I-5, but a high-output version of the twin-turbo 2.7-liter EcoBoost V-6 sounds like a nice fit for a U.S.-market model. The Aussie Ranger Raptor should also get a 10-speed automatic transmission, low-range transfer case, unique off-road-tuned suspension, and 17-inch wheels wrapped in BFGoodrich A/T tires.
We’ll have to wait and see what Ford has in store for the Ranger Raptor in the U.S., but these spy shots are a very promising sign to us. Check out the exclusive shots in the gallery below.
Photo credit: Mike Leonard and Amanda Boyd